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I don’t think that’ll work…

August 1, 2009

I’m finally back in business (had some modem issues) and meant to post about this article I found the other day.

In short, it says Dan Rather wants the government to step in and “save” journalism.

In the article Rather is quoted as saying: “A democracy and free people cannot thrive without a fiercely independent press.”

This is absolutely correct, however having the government do something about modern journalism is counterproductive. In spite of what journalism may or may not look like in 2009, the industry is one built on people speaking out in lieu of risk and danger; for the sake of the masses. It’s American History 101 really, especially concerning the time around the American Revolution when those in the colonies needed an outlet to speak about what rubbed them the wrong way about how Britain was treating them.

In short, holding hands with and playing Red Rover with the government would be bad news for the industry. The government will not only be the weakest link, but also the defining link. Besides being a counterproductive idea, if, hypothetically, Rather’s suggestion comes to fruition I would imagine the following would take place:

1.) The complete obliberation of trust of the media. Journalism has been losing ground here for years. Genuine, quality news is already questionable. Government assistance and/or journalism reconstruction would raise many an eyebrow.

2.) An enormous surgence in freelance and citizen journalism.

3.) A really strange system of industry standards. I honestly have no idea as to what something like this would be, but I do know it would be completely unlike necessary ethics and mechanical standards such as the SPJ code of ethics or writing according to AP.

I’m not trying to knock Rather or anything, I do agree with much of what he says in the article. I’m just not too sure (okay fine, completely against) his method of reforming the industry. The very heart of the matter is we did this to ourselves, meaning journalism will have to strengthen itself from the inside to start seeing any sort of progress.

~ Bliss

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